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Federal Wiretaps Nearly Doubled Last Year

2010, it seems, was a landmark year for federal snooping. According to the U.S. courts systems’ annual report on law enforcement wiretaps, federal law enforcement requested 1,207 intercepts placed on phones and electronic communications last year, nearly double the 663 requested in 2009.

Overall, wiretaps jumped 34%, including a smaller increase in the number of state-requested law enforcement eavesdropping. The total comes to 3,194 requests, up from 2,376 in 2009 and just 1,190 in the year 2000.

The steady rise in legal snooping over the last decade has been driven largely by the war on drugs, according to the report. Drug cases comprised 84% of the wiretaps requested in 2010, compared with 75% in 2000.

Even as wiretaps have risen steadily for the last decade, however, federal wiretaps have only grown marginally until the last year, from 479 in 2000 to 663 in 2009. The subsequent doubling between 2009 and 2010 is an unprecedented spike.

http://blogs.forbes.com/andygreenberg/2011/07/01/federal-wir...



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